Poor communication between department heads
In many cases there are conflicting objectives between departments which are not necessarily connected with the personal agendas of their heads. It seems to be the natural assumption that “the other side’s” self interest is at the root of any objection or difference in view they might express. More often, under examination, it is discovered that the conflict is more to do with the different language, jargon and perspectives of the other side and trying to meet the demands being made on them by their own user group or superiors.
I was invited to host a Brainstorming session by one of the sides of the issue. This side was particularly upset by the fact that they felt they had no power and were effectively just the slaves to the other side. They didn’t really have any faith in the other side even turning up to the session. As I had assured them, the other side did turn up, with a bit of expectation management. Once the session was in progress, I started out, as usual, by reiterating the ground rules and obtaining agreement, and then set out, as I understood them, the objectives for the session. The conflict started even at this early stage. There was major disagreement about what they were trying to achieve. The ground rules came in very handy, and everyone behaved in accordance with them. As a result, each side were able to listen rather than talk over the other side’s viewpoint. Very quickly, the real, positive agenda from each side emerged as they listened to one another without interrupting, and as the positive tone amplified, they all became increasingly focused on the overall objective they were both in pursuit of, forgetting the lower level issues which had been the cause of so much angst, and which were no longer relevant in the light of the bigger picture.